Deadpool & Mercs for Money 4 NM Hawthorne Design Variant Cover Taskmaster 1:20 x


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Deadpool & the Mercs for Money (2016) #4 Solo Design Variant Cover (Limited 1 for 20 Retailer Incentive Variant Cover)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciller: Salvador Espin
Cover Artist: Mike Hawthorne

Ever wanna see Deadpool and company on a long haul in a big rig?
How about if it’s driven by an immortal, demonic trucker?
I cannot hear your response — but I hope it was a yes.
Because that happens in this issue!

“You guys should really take a break from all your carnage and mayhem… and come take a look at all this carnage and mayhem!” —Deadpool

Featured Characters:

Deadpool (Wade Wilson)

Supporting Characters:

Solo (James Bourne)
Stingray (Walt Newell)
Slapstick (Steve Harmon)
Foolkiller (Greg Salinger)
The Hand
Big Wheel (Jackson Weele) (Apparent death)
Slayback (Gregory Terraerton)
Taskmaster (Tony Masters)
The Zapata Brothers
Evil Deadpool

DEADPOOL AND THE MERCS FOR MONEY has been one of my favorite new series in the ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT Marvel lineup, as it relies heavily on a cast of lesser known Marvel characters. I’ve been a fan of Marvel for years, and I’m glad that this series has been good about showcasing characters I haven’t seen a million times already. DEADPOOL books are always better with an ensemble cast like this. It gives the Merc with a Mouth plenty of people to bounce off of.

Deadpool and his fellow mercs, Foolkiller, Solo, Stingray, Slapstick, Massacre, and Terror, have successfully sold their future-predicting robot to the Ozarks Kingpin. They enlist the help of the Highwayman, a demonic trucker, to help transport the ‘bot. Unsurprisingly, they are pursued by a pack of vicious mercs looking to take this powerful robot for themselves. This culminates during a hectic and hilarious chase scene which, as Slapstick points out, looks like something out of Mad Max.

I love this scene. Artist Salva Espin does a great job of creating a sense of madness in this chase that’s perfectly suited to a book with a questionably sane character like Deadpool. The desert road and stormy sky almost seem to have been infected by the insanity of the scene, presenting a high-intensity, pulse-pounding pursuit. I also love this spread because, as opposed to my experience with movies and TV shows, I don’t see a lot of car chases in comics. The stasis of the images in comics, as opposed to on the screen, allows you to slowly take in the scene.

Deadpool is still so hot right now. The highest grossing R-rated film of all time was recently released on Blu-ray/DVD — which of course, means we got another clever Ryan Reynolds advertisement too — as is custom at this point.

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money features DP and crew as the transporters of that psychic robot I mentioned earlier. Robo-Psychic might not just be some MacGuffin of the month either; there’s likely a good reason some big name Marvel villains (namely Mephisto and Dr. Doom) want to get their hands on him– and if the jargon he’s been spitting out has any substantiality — he could play a crucial role in the Civil War II crossover as well.

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money has been my favorite Deadpool title of late thanks to writer Cullen Bunn’s well-paced, action-filled, self-aware narrative; a melange of obscure yet refreshing characters; and vivid, animated art from penciler Salvador Espin and colorist Guru-eFX.

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #4 keeps the momentum going strong with a story featuring ninjas, a motorcycle riding mercenary with a giant eyeball for a head and Deadpool fighting an enemy from his past on the hood of an 18-wheeler. All while a vampire trucker spouts so-painfully-corny-they’re-good lines like, “Hey! What are you doing? I’ve still got like 666 payments left on this rig” from behind the wheel of the flame-spitting, horned demon skull on the truck grill sporting, big rig.

Bunn’s wit shines strong in this issue; he’s truly found his groove with these non-cream-of-the-crop characters as he’s able to make them thoroughly entertaining while commensurately grounded. This book never takes itself too seriously and it’s this approach that keeps the protagonists endearing and the storyline capricious.

The tandem of Salvador Espin and Guru-eFX keeps the art crisp and striking. Espin carves a nice niche between cartoony and realistic, which lends itself very well to the book’s tone. His characters are full of expression and body language but look real enough to give fight scenes impact. He also draws an absolutely bad-ass Taskmaster. This is a great looking book through and through, and props go out to Guru-eFX.

Espin also demonstrates that he can convey motion well when the Highwayman crashes his truck through the wall of a truck stop and into Bruiser. The blurs around the edges really make the truck leap off the page.

Plot-wise, once the Mercs for Money rolled up to the truckstop, the issue definitely slowed down. It quickly makes up for lost momentum by providing a nice comedic break. Deadpool claims that the truck stops are a sort of sacred ground and not open to attack. Clearly, he was wrong. Slapstick returns to wreak havoc on the Mercs for Money’s enemies after being run over by Highwayman’s truck in his typical cartoony fashion. Meanwhile, Deadpool is helpless to aid his mercs because he’s so enthralled by all of the violence. The action in this sequence restarts the carnage for the second half of the issue and packs in more jokes.

The past few issues have been focused on building tension and gradually bringing more characters into play. They set the scene for the explosive action in this issue. I enjoyed the building and release of tension. Changing the pace keeps everything fresh.

In terms of characterization, this issue is great, as it lets the ensemble cast cut loose. It’s great fun to watch the Mercs for Money dialed up to eleven, trying to defend their shipment. The wisecracks don’t stop and do a great job of establishing relationships between characters. In previous issues, the sheer number of characters meant that not everyone was given an equal amount of attention.

Overall, this issue was great because it used characters well, and the plot had an ebb and flow thanks to the change in momentum. Things look pretty dire for the mercs, and I’m excited to see where they go next.

Near mint, 1st print. Bagged & Boarded.